Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks did not think highly over the slap on the wrist that Phil Kessel got from the Department of Player Safety. Vlasic had been fined earlier in the year by the DoPS over a slash he gave to Minnesota Wild forward Dany Heatley. He decided to go public with his frustration (to the San Jose Mercury News’ David Pollak) to vent his frustration over what he thought was a botched call by Brendan Shanahan.
“Three pre-season games? Who cares? I’m sure he’ll be ready for the regular season,” Vlasic offered to SJMN’s Pollack. “There’s no side effects, no consequence to what he did. He doesn’t lose one cent or doesn’t lose one regular season game for vicious slashes. I don’t understand why he would get what he got and I would get what I got, but I don’t make the rules.”
Vlasic made a good point. Kessel’s first slash might have been to shoo away the last of the NHL’s “super goons” (aka John Scott) from him, but that second one happened while Scott’s back was turned and he was falling down. There was clear intent to injure, and there should have been some serious suspension time with the ex-Bruin now Maple Leafs attack.
Well, one of the joys of modern media is that anything you say will go around the world in minutes. On the downside, anything you say will go around the world in a minutes. It didn’t take long for Brendan Shanahan to hear of Vlasic’s complaint. When Pollak reached out to Shanahan to get his two cents in response, he got a frank and direct explanation of his call not to throw Kessel in irons.
“My door is always open to any player.” responded Shanahan. “If he truly wants an explanation, he can reach out to me anytime and I will give him an explanation. That is an easy route and not something that he necessarily needs to do through the newspaper.”
“On each incident, we dissect the details. We use our experience to try to establish intent, degree of recklessness. For someone to say the judgment is too lenient of the judgment is too harsh, that’s perfectly acceptable because this is a subjective job and we respect that other people have other opinions.”
What can we take out of this?
1.) Brendan Shanahan is getting really tired of having his calls questioned. (In my opinion, if he made fewer bad ones, there wouldn’t be this problem he currently has.) So, when a member of the Sharks’ local media came knocking to get his opinion, they got both barrels. Shanahan does have a certain responsibility to explain how his mind works when he and the fellows in Player Safety determine ‘good touch’, ‘bad touch’, and ‘what the hell were you thinking touch?!’
2.) Does the Department of Player Safety use a dart board to determine the length of suspensions? I can’t rightly say one way or the other.
3.) That Marc-Edouard Vlasic will sincerely think twice about firing off an opinion to the local media. It’s great to be on the fans radar. It’s not as good to be on the radar of the man the fans call ‘Shanaban’.
4.) If Phil Kessel so much as swings his lumber in a way that might even been perceived as naughty in the next few weeks, the DoPS will have no choice but to run him over with a Zamboni.